Yukon conservation officers hope to hook kids on fishing

Whitehorse students have been enjoying the fine, sunny weather by heading out to a nearby lake for an appreciation of ice fishing course.
Students learn the art of patience while ice fishing at Fish Lake outside Whitehorse. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

Yukon anglers are getting older and there's concern that not enough young people are being introduced to fishing, so conservation officers took a group of Whitehorse students out to try their luck with a line and learn some good tips.

Yukon government fisheries biologist Oliver Barker explains the innards of fish to students. (Paul Tukker/CBC)
The students, part of an experiential learning program, went to Fish Lake west of the city.

Aaron Koss-Young, a territorial conservation officer, is one of their fishing guides for the day. He says there are fewer parents getting out with their kids these days. He hopes a day out like this gets kids hooked on fishing.

"We're in kind of a technological era here, where kids learn how to fish more from a Gameboy or a Nintendo and stuff than they do getting out in the field," Koss-Young says.

He says the program teaches the students the proper way of doing things including cleaning the fish, understanding regulations as well as promoting conservation and of course patience.

Joe Parker, one of the students, says he's having a good day.

Joe Parker shows off his catch at Fish Lake, Yukon. (Paul Tukker/CBC)
"It's definitely a fun way to pass time and it's nice to get out into the wilderness, it's a nice calming experience. The feeling you get when you catch a fish is a really good one," Parker says.

Koss-Young says sometimes the lure works.

"We've had reports of students that have taken this program or been part of it and weren't into angling before, but now they're quite keen and avid anglers and we hear that they're out there four, five, six times a year ice fishing and that's quite a rewarding thing to hear."